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Plate Techtonics

TermDefinition
inner core the innermost part of the core, specifically a solid sphere in the middle of the fluid core
outer core a fluid layer about 2,300 km (1,400 mi) thick and composed of mostly iron and nickel that lies above Earth's solid inner core and below its mantle
mantle the part of the earth's interior beneath the crust and above the central core
crust the outer layer of the Earth, between the surface and the mantle, which is up to 40 miles deep
Pangaea hypothetical land area believed to have once connected nearly all of the earth's landmasses together
Panthalassa a universal sea or single ocean, such as would have surrounded the postulated supercontinent of Pangaea
Alfred Wegener German geophysicist who proposed the theory of continental drift (1880-1930)
continental drift theory the theory that the continents slowly and gradually moved to take on their current form
plate tectonics theory the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle
tectonic plate the two sub-layers of the earth's crust (lithosphere) that move, float, and sometimes fracture and whose interaction causes continental drift, earthquakes, volcanoes, mountains, and oceanic trenches
paleomagnetism the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field in rocks, sediment, or archeological materials
seafloor striping magma flows out of a mid-ocean ridge, small, magnetic minerals in the magma align themselves to point in the direction of the Earth's current magnetic North, and when the poles reverse it creates striping on the ocean floor
seafloor spreading the formation of new areas of oceanic crust, which occurs through the upwelling of magma at mid-ocean ridges and its subsequent outward movement on either side
convergent boundary an actively deforming region where two (or more) tectonic plates or fragments of the lithosphere move toward one another and collide
divergent boundary a linear feature that exists between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other
transform boundary places where plates slide sideways past each other and lithosphere is neither created nor destroyed.
lithosphere the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle
asthenosphere the upper layer of the earth's mantle, below the lithosphere
subduction the sideways and downward movement of the edge of a plate of the earth's crust into the mantle beneath another plate
fault a crack in the Earth's crust
rift valley a large elongated depression with steep walls formed by the downward displacement of a block of the earth's surface between nearly parallel faults or fault systems
isostatic equilibrium huge plates of crustal and upper mantle material (lithosphere) “float” on more dense, plastically flowing rocks of the asthenosphere
earthquake a sudden and violent shaking of the ground, sometimes causing great destruction, as a result of movements within the earth's crust or volcanic action
volcano a mountain or hill, typically conical, having a crater or vent through which lava, rock fragments, hot vapor, and gas are being or have been erupted from the earth's crust
hot spot a place deep within the Earth where hot magma rises to just underneath the surface, creating a bulge and volcanic activity
magma hot fluid or semifluid material below or within the earth's crust from which lava and other igneous rock is formed by cooling
lava hot molten or semifluid rock erupted from a volcano or fissure, or solid rock resulting from cooling of this
rock cycle a cycle of processes undergone by rocks in the earth's crust, involving igneous intrusion, uplift, erosion, transportation, deposition as sedimentary rock, metamorphism, remelting, and further igneous intrusion
convection current current in a fluid that results from convection
Abyssal plain an underwater plain on the deep ocean floor, usually found at depths between 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) and 6,000 metres (20,000 ft)
hydrothermal vent an opening in the sea floor out of which heated mineral-rich water flows
Created by: asing2000